Study finds that Female radiation oncologists are submitting fewer charges to Medicare and collecting less revenue

A new study by UCLA researchers has found that female radiation oncologists submit fewer charges to Medicare and are also paid less per charge submitted. They also receive lesser Medicare payments as compared to their male counterparts.

A member of the UCLA Cancer Centre, Dr. Ann Raldow led a team of investigators. The team reviewed in 2016, the data that was provided on services to Medicare and the Medicaid beneficiaries so that they could identify the charge and the payment information for all the radiation oncologists that were practicing in outpatient and some hospital settings.

The data that was collected revealed that out of 4,393 radiation oncologists that were submitting their claims to Medicare, the female physicians who were working in an outpatient location roughly submitted 1,051 lesser charges and also collected 143,610 dollars less in income than the male physicians. The female radiation oncologists working at a hospital or any other similar care facility were submitting on average 423 lesser charges and further collecting 26,735 dollars fewer in revenue than the males.

The study shows that even those females who are submitting the maximum number of Medicare claims, i.e. highly productive radiation in the hospital setting collected on average 33,026 dollars lesser than the male radiation oncologists. In outpatient settings, this difference was even greater, and similarly, the highly productive females were getting an average of 345,944 dollars lesser than males.

“Our study illustrates a gender gap in Medicare charges and collections for radiation oncologists, the latter of which is likely attributable to female physicians consistently submitting fewer charges and also charging for services that are less well reimbursed,” said the study’s first author, Dr. Luca Valle. “The source of this variation is unknown, but warrants further review.”